From The Editor’s Notebook (Jan-Feb 1978)

MIF 10:1 (Jan-Feb 1978)

From The Editor’s Notebook

W. Ross Rainey

In the March-April issue of Focus we will have a brief report of the annual committee meeting held in Toronto, Canada, on November 5th, 1977.

We regret that many may be receiving their copy, or copies, of the magazine late. As a case in point, I did not receive my personal copy of the September-October issue until October 12th. Two years ago we laid out a schedule which we thought would solve this annoying problem, and for a while it did. I wrote to our printer about the matter and he assured me that everything has been carried out according to our agreed deadlines. The problem? The extreme slowness of the mails. Please bear with us until we can perhaps revamp our deadlines with a view to getting the magazine into your hands earlier.

Certainties for the New Year

Probably most of us have come across that little biography on time which reads:

When as a child I laughed and wept,
Time crept;
When as a youth I dreamt and talked,
Time walked;
When I became a full-grown man,
Time ran;
When older still I daily grew,
Time flew;
Soon shall I find in travelling on,
Time gone;
And face eternity begun,
Time done.

By the time you read these lines we will be well into 1978 and perhaps you’ve been wondering just what this New Year holds. Are there things that we as believers can really be sure of and count on? Indeed there are! And these things have their source in our faithful God who holds the future and knows perfectly every detail.

Several of these certainties have been expressed by Walter Scott in a brief article entitled, “What I Know,” which appeared in his book (now long out of print and from which we have quoted in the past), Selections from Fifty Years’ Written Ministry. It is as follows:

I know I have forgiveness of sins from Colossians 2:13.

I know I am justified from Acts 13:38-39.

I know I have peace with God as I read Romans 5:1.

I know I am saved as I peruse Ephesians 2:5-8.

I know I have everlasting life from John 5:24.

I know I cannot be lost as I read John 10:28-30.

I know I am fully blest from Ephesians 1:3.

I know I am now God’s child from 1 John 3:1-2.

I know I am an heir of God from Romans 8:17.

There are many things I KNOW, but you had better search them out for yourself. You can search the title deeds, study the charter of blessing yourself. God has written all down so plainly in the Scriptures that you have only to read and believe; and if you cannot read, get someone to do it for you, but the believing you must do for yourself. Babes in Christ are blest as fully as fathers. All the foregoing blessings, and others too numerous to mention, are for all who simply believe in Christ. Are you a believer? Then you are forgiven, justified and saved. Now read the Word of God, especially the new Testament, and mark especially the little words “hath,” “have,” “are,” which show what every believer has and is.

Samson’s City

According to an article in The Jerusalem Post, the site of Samson’s city of Timnah, where he courted Delilah and slew a lion, has been uncovered by archaeologists working in collaboration with the Hebrew University’s Institute of Archaeology. The team recently concluded its first season of excavations at Tel Batash in the Sorek Valley.

The dig revealed a Canaanite city which evidently was destroyed by a tremendous fire, and on the ruins of the Canaanite city, remains of Philistine occupation were uncovered. Floors, ovens, silos, and typical Philistine pottery sherds were recovered. The occupation is probably to be identified with the Philistine city of Timnah, well-known in the Samson stories in the book of Judges.

From the tenth to the seventh centuries, the estimated period of the Israelite monarchy, a fortified city existed on the site. A massive, four-meter wide city wall and the city gate were found during the excavations. The gate was a large complex some sixteen meters square. On both sides of the wide central passage, three piers created guard rooms. The gate was destroyed and reconstructed according to a modified plan toward the end of the Israelite period. A well protected ramp led to the city gate along the eastern slope of the tel.

The importance of this border city between Philistia and Judea is emphasized in the Biblical account of its capture by the Philistines during the reign of King Ahaz (see 2 Chronicles 28:18), and its mention in the account of Sennacherib’s campaign through Philistia in 701 B.C.

Research on the site is to be continued and expanded during a projected six-year program.

Spiritualism, Sorcery and Witchcraft

In these days it is extremely important that God’s people take to heart what the Bible teaches concerning the occult. With some additional editing, the following points were adapted originally from The British Evangelist, and then from Pulpit Helps:

1. God commanded Israel that those who practiced sorcery or witchcraft should be put to death (Exodus 22:18).

2. To seek to communicate with spirits or with the dead is to become defiled and unfit to appear before God to worship Him (Leviticus 19:31).

3. God cut off from among the Israelites all who turned to mediums for help (Leviticus 20:6).

4. Capital punishment by stoning was God’s sentence on any man or woman who called up spirits (Leviticus 20:27).

5. Witchcraft, fortunetelling, crystal reading, necromancy, and palmistry are related to spiritism and are strongly condemned by God (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).

6. It was because of their black magic and related practices that God destroyed the Canaanites (Deuteronomy 18:10-12).

7. Samuel’s most effective was of impressing upon Saul the enormity of the sin of disobedience was by likening it to witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23).

8. When he was faithful to God, King Saul cleared all the spiritistic mediums out of the land (1 Samuel 28:3).

9. When King Saul later consulted a medium, it was only after sin had made communication with God impossible (1 Samuel 28:6-7).

10. Saul’s loss of his crown and his untimely death were the direct judgment of God on him for his dealings in spiritism (1 Chronicles 10:13).

11. The list of the wicked King Manasseh’s sins includes consulting with spirit-mediums, fortunetellers, and sorcerers (2 Chronicles 33:6).

12. One of the reasons God rejected Israel was because they practiced magic and communicated with evil spirits (Isaiah 2:6).

13. It is insulting to God to consult the dead when you can inquire of Him (Isaiah 2:6).

14. A fortuneteller may be demon possessed, like the young girl in Philippi out of whom Paul cast an unclean spirit in the name of Jesus (Acts 16:16-18).

15. True Christians, like those at Ephesus, have nothing to do with black magic and its related practices (Acts 19:9).

16. Sorcery is included in the works of the flesh listed in the Bible, and those who practice it cannot enter the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21).

17. Those who engage in sorcery will be shut out of heaven and banished forever from God (Revelation 21:8; 22:15).

18. The teachings of spiritism are doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1).

19. Demons are subject to God’s greater power and tremble before Him (James 2:19).

20. The increase in following after subversive doctrines inspired by demons is one of the predicted signs of “the latter times” and of the near approach of divine judgment (1 Timothy 4:1)